California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is, of course, the official state flower of California. It is sometimes called the Golden Poppy or Cupa de Oro. American Indians used the poppy as a source of food and for medical purposes. Even today virtually all parts of the plant are used by those favoring herbal remedies. The scientific name was given to our poppy by a German botanist in the second decade of the nineteenth century. Albert von Chamisso named it in honor of a German physician and friend, Johan Friedrich von Eschscholtz.

California Poppy

Poppy

Although our golden poppy is usually yellow to orange in coloration you will occasionally see anything from pure white to deep red. It favors full sun and poor, sandy, well-drained soil. It does not need nor even like rich soil. It is pollinated by beetles and bees. The seeds are encased in a long slender pod which eventually breaks open and spreads the seeds in all directions. In many places it is an annual dying back in the winter, but in other locales it develops a long tap root which permits it to live longer than one year. You will find our poppies blooming vigorously here in The Sea Ranch from April to August.

California Poppies are indeed a quintessential symbol of this state.